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A speech by Prince Harry on HMS Intrepid

Published 25 June 2010

American and British Forces have fought shoulder to shoulder for a hundred years to safeguard the ideals and values our countries share.

The Duke of Sussex

Good evening,

A bit of a ‘pinch yourself’ moment - standing on the flight deck of Intrepid, the legendary Fighting ‘I’, with its glorious and battle-scarred history. The backdrop isn’t bad either! A huge privilege – thank you.

It is so good of you all to come here this afternoon - I really hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. If I may, though, I would just like to steal a few moments of your time to talk about an important and serious matter affecting both our countries - an issue that my brother, William, and I both feel passionately about, as I’m sure you do too: It’s the welfare of our men and women in uniform; those whom we send out to fight our wars and protect our freedom.

American and British Forces have fought shoulder to shoulder for a hundred years to safeguard the ideals and values our countries share. This extraordinary history of sacrifice and unity of purpose continues to this day. We fight together; tragically, some die together; and others are wounded together. On the battlefield, American and British medics strive heroically to treat each others’ casualties. Beyond the battlefield though, paths diverge as each country takes back its own.

For veterans and those who care for them, trans-Atlantic bonds do hold firm. But I believe that they could still be strengthened. We in Britain can learn from the American culture of philanthropy, and from the great pioneering work in the fields of care, prosthetics and rehabilitation of your Universities, Hospitals and other organisations. In turn, I hope we can offer some inspiring examples of our own.

And there can be two no more inspiring examples than the two behind me Captain Kate Philp and Captain Guy Disney, both serving officers in the British Army. They will say a few words to you in a moment. I’ve asked Kate and Guy to do many things while they are here: to talk to as many people as they can about how British and American veterans’ organisations can work more closely together. So, may I encourage all of you who have thoughts on how we may achieve this to seek them out at the Reception afterwards. Now you know what they look like.

Finally, I would just like to say a huge thank you to the Intrepid Museum and to Sir Alan Collins for making tonight possible…and to the four former crew members of this great warship who are here tonight for allowing us aboard their Fighting ‘I’.

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A selection of messages will be passed onto members of the Royal Family, and may be held in the Royal Archives for posterity.